Cooking Matters

“It gave me clarity on nutrition facts, how to shop and keep from running out of food before the next shopping date.”

—Cooking Matters for Adults graduate, Little Rock, AR

View Cooking Matters video here.

Arkansas Flavor, a special publication of Arkansas Times, features recipes from the Cooking Matters curriculum.

Skills Families Need to Eat Better for Less

Cooking Matters, an innovative nutrition education program offering 6-week Signature Courses, teaches individuals and families the skills they need to cook healthy meals and get the most from their food budgets. The Cooking Matters classes are hands-on, full participation classes taught by volunteer chefs and nutrition experts from communities large and small. Participants learn how to select nutritious, low-cost ingredients and how to turn those ingredients into delicious meals for their families. Graduates of Cooking Matters Signature Courses don’t just leave with cooking skills; they leave with the confidence and pride in knowing they can make a difference in the health and happiness of their families.Cooking Matters Signature Courses are designed as six weekly, two-hour lessons and can be taught in any facility that has a kitchen or an area that can be outfitted with hot plates. Many Cooking Matters courses are taught in church kitchens, community centers, food banks, food pantries, restaurants and schools.

Different Curriculums for Different Needs

There are different versions of Cooking Matters to meet the needs of different groups and many are available in Spanish* as well as English:

  • Cooking Matters for Adults* teaches adults with low-incomes about healthy meal preparation and sensible shopping on a limited budget. Ninety percent of Cooking Matters for Adults graduates said they ate more fruits, vegetables or whole grains after the course than they did before. This program also has extra components to help participants who have children ages five and under, who are at risk for or have diabetes, as well as those who are dealing with HIV/AIDS.
  • Cooking Matters for Kids teaches children in 3rd through 5th grades how to prepare healthy meals and snacks and to make smart choices whether they are at school or at home, at the store or out to eat. Forty percent improved their confidence in making something to eat with fruits and vegetables all by themselves.
  • Cooking Matters for Families* brings school-aged children and their families together to learn about healthy eating, planning meals as a family and working together in the kitchen. Eighty-nine percent of families reported cooking together at home when they finished their classes.
  • Cooking Matters for Teens teaches kids in the 6th grade and up how to make healthy food choices and prepare healthy meals and snacks. Eighty-one percent of graduates reported an improvement in the cooking skills.
  • Cooking Matters for Child Care Professionals teaches those who care for children about healthy meal preparation and creating a healthy, safe food environment for the kids in their care. Of the providers who completed the first round of pilot trainings, 92 percent reported improved cooking skills and 72 percent felt more confident about having kids help prepare meals.
Find a Cooking Matters Program in Your Area:
Be a Cooking Matters Volunteer:

Fill out the Cooking Matters Volunteer Application and we’ll be in touch soon!

Be A Cooking Matters Partner

We ask that partners have at least 2 dedicated volunteers to oversee a Cooking Matters program and participate in a training that lasts about an hour and a half. The Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance provides this training at no cost to you. We do anticipate at least one series of the 6-session Cooking Matters class to be conducted after training.

We are happy to work on any logistics needed to make this a successful program for you. Partners are responsible for purchasing of food and cooking equipment for the classes. Partners also are responsible for recruiting participants and volunteer teachers.

The Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance’s Cooking Matters program will provide all curriculum costs for your class! Yea! We will provide you with enough material to send each participant home with a copy of the Cooking Matters curriculum, graduation certificate and reusable grocery bag. As well as provide the instructors with books specifically designed to help teach the course. We provide surveys and we are able to provide you with the impact of your classes about 6 weeks after completion.

Sponsor the $10 Challenge for a Cooking Matters class

Each Cooking Matters course includes a grocery tour where participants learn how to make smart food choices on a limited budget. At the end of the store tour, participants receive a free $10 grocery gift card to practice what they learned. The $10 Challenge asks participants to buy the ingredients to prepare dinner for four for $10 or less.

Cooking Matters Coordinator Training:

We have trainings periodically throughout the year for volunteers who would like to work with Cooking Matters. After the training you will be able to coordinate, teach, and host a 6-week nutrition and culinary education class. Some of you have volunteered with us in the past and wanted to connect more deeply with the program. Some are just learning what Cooking Matters is about.

Trainings:  There are no trainings scheduled at this time. Please check back or contact:

Alex Handfinger, Cooking Matters Director





Helpful links:

Share Our Strength’s Cooking Matters